The National Trust has reported a substantial increase in its visitor numbers, and retail and catering sales in December 2011 compared to the previous December. There were more than half-a-million (521,000) visitors to Trust properties in December 2011, an increase of 74% on the previous year. The retail business, which includes high street shops, shops at places and online sales, saw an increase in sales of 24% and the cafes and restaurants had a 71% increase in sales in December 2011 compared to the same month in 2010. Factors affecting the large jump in visitor numbers include the mild weather compared to the heavy snow in December 2010 and an increasing number of houses running Christmas-themed activity. The Trust reports that it is on target to have its best ever year for visitor numbers to its pay-for-entry properties, exceeding 18 million visitors for the first time. In the year to date, retail sales have increased by 8 per cent and catering has so far seen a 14% increase in sales.
The National Trust has also announced range of branded coach breaks across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This follows a successful trial last year with Just Go! Holidays. Tours vary between three and seven days and Just Go! Holidays will give the National Trust £10 for every person that books a tour.